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End of Title 42 One Week Later: Local impacts show significant drop in new migrant arrivals

Immigration experts acknowledge that the lifting of the pandemic-era rule has not resulted in a surge of migrants coming across the border.

SAN ANTONIO — San Antonio’s online dashboard shows a gradual decrease in new migrant arrivals since Title 42 expired one week ago.

On May 11, 1,300 migrants came to the Alamo City, which accounts for those who arrived at the airport, Greyhound bus station downtown and the Migrant Resource Center off San Pedro.

Data for May 17 indicates 465 migrant arrivals with 401 individuals sheltered. 

Federal officials announced on Sunday there’s been a significant drop in border crossings. 

"Over the past two days, the United States Border Patrol has experienced a 50% drop in the number of encounters versus what we were experiencing earlier in the week before Title 42 ended at midnight on Thursday," said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said. “It is still early. We are in day three. But we have been planning for this transition for months and months."

Immigration lawyer Gerardo Menchaca broke down numerous reasons for the decrease in border crossings. 

“Number one: the increased penalties that exist now that didn’t exist before May 11. Number two: the cooperation of Mexico and Guatemala with the United States on decreasing the flow of immigrants coming to the U.S.-Mexico border,” Menchaca said.

He noted bulked up enforcement along the border, including the federally deployed National guard and more CBP officers, is factoring in as well. 

Support is also coming from smaller, more conservative communities. 

A coalition of governments from rural municipalities convened Thursday in a public meeting to talk about potential impacts of Title 42’s ending.

"We must keep Title 42, its ending, and its potential ramifications top of mind. US immigration policy is changing – these changes have potential to impact families and their properties in Atascosa County and surrounding areas,” said Atascosa County Judge Weldon Cude in a written resolution. “We, as Governing Officials, must continue to have conversations and prepare for these policy changes. I want the public to know we are paying close attention to these changes and are working tirelessly to ensure the safety of residents and their loved ones. Collaboration with our State delegation, regional County leadership, and first responders is critical to stay ahead."

“We’re going to discuss how we can help our own staff by furnishing overtime to the sheriff’s department, being able to get them with whatever forces they need and assist DPS and assist the National Guard in everything we can,” Cude said in an interview with KENS 5.

Menchaca noted how the lifting of Title 42 has made it even more difficult for migrants to seek asylum. 

“President Biden created a new rule called the transit ban that’s said that basically you have to apply for asylum in another country that you’ve crossed before asking for asylum in the United States,” Menchaca said.

The non-profit agency RAICES is among the organizations encountering barriers when it comes to providing legal services to migrants looking for a better life, which is seen as the greatest impact while a country waits on Congress to act on immigration.  

“Efforts that are further limiting access to counsel, we’re pushing against that as an organization from an advocacy standpoint but also our attorneys on the ground,” said RAICES spokesman Faisal Al-Juburi.

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